Liberty Middle School eighth grader Kalijahe Spann, 14, hugs his dad Alphonso Brown, left, with his mom Tawanna Brown, right, after the 27th Annual Turnaround Achievement Awards at Blake High School.
Spann, who's now on the high honor roll at Liberty, improved his grades from C's in the seventh grade, making the B honor roll in the first quarter this year.
The awards breakfast, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Bowling Proprietors Association, serves to recognize Hillsborough County students who have overcome obstacles or made significant positive changes academically or socially.
"Our job as educators is to help students bring out that individual talent that they have within them," said Earnest Wood, intervention specialist at Liberty Middle School. "Middle school is hard. A lot of times middle schoolers run in groups, they are trying to find their place in the world and it is hard to break that group up. I'm proud of this young man, Kalijahe Spann, because he is a strong individual. He has a big group around him that tries to influence him, but he stands apart from that group all the time."
The awards breakfast recognizes one student selected from each Hillsborough County middle, high and charter school. Middle schools present their turnaround students on Wednesday and Thursday, high school students on Friday.